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City of Nelson hires project leader and architect for Civic Centre reno

Estimated completion date for the three-part project is late 2024
An elevator at the front and centre of the Civic Centre would give access to a concourse across the front on each floor including the basement, from which people and services could reach the various parts of the building. The concourse is one part of the project, which also includes an energy retrofit and renovations to the Civic Theatre. Illustration courtesy of City of Nelson

The City of Nelson has hired a Vancouver consulting company to oversee the three-part renovation of the Civic Centre, and has contracted with a local architectural firm to design it.

Collier Project Leaders will co-ordinate the work and Cover Architecture of Nelson has been hired as its architect.

The project has three parts — an energy retrofit, a new accessibility concourse, and a renovated theatre — each of which is a major project in its own right, according to the city’s public works director Colin Innes.

But the three parts are so structurally interrelated that they need to be done simultaneously, and this involves a level of co-ordination and staff time that the city could not provide on its own, he said.

Innes added that in the current construction environment plagued by supply chain issues, Collier’s many contacts throughout the province-wide construction industry will be essential.

He said the secret to dealing with supply chain issues is to do early procurement, and the company will make this a priority.

“For example,” he said, “we know we are going to need an elevator, so let’s get it ordered. It is about us getting into the queue really early.”

The Civic Centre building is 87 years old and its construction pre-dates Canada’s national building code that was introduced in 1941. The city originally decided on the rebuild as an employment project in response to the pandemic.

Innes said design work by Cover Architecture will start now and run through the summer, and procurement of equipment and materials will begin in the summer. A construction manager will be hired sometime in the next few months.

Construction could start late this year or early next year, with a hoped-for completion date of 2024-25.

Innes said the total project budget is $13.7 million, allocated as follows for the three parts of the project:

• Energy retrofit: $5.5 million, of which the city has received grants for 74 per cent of the cost.

• Accessible concourse: $4 million, of which the city has received a grant for 80 per cent of the cost.

• Civic Theatre: $4.3 million, of which the theatre has already received a $3.3-million grant and a line of credit from the city for the expansion from one screen to three.

In each case, the remaining funding must be procured through future grant opportunities or through borrowing.


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Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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